Dinner On the Fly

My Grilled Chicken Pasta with Roasted Tomato Pepper Sauce recipe is an easy dinner that you can shop for and prepare on the fly.

I don’t know about you, but I find grocery shopping a tad more difficult with my children home for the summer.  There is all the grabbing, begging, sampling, and complaining, and that is only after the fight to get in the car and do something that is not “fun.”  So, in an attempt to just purchase things as quickly as possible yesterday, I grabbed some boneless chicken breast.  Nothing else.

This recipe is the result of what I had in the fridge and pantry, and it was pretty darn good for a Wednesday night with nothing on hand.  Yes, it is peculiar that I had piquillo peppers and goat cheese, but no onions.  I know.

So, first I took a small can of fire roasted diced tomatoes (one of my favorite canned items in the world) and drained a bit of the liquid.  Then I threw the tomatoes and about 4 piquillo peppers (that I had left over) in the blender.  If you have not had piquillo peppers, they come in a can and taste a lot like roasted red peppers, only they are already roasted and peeled for you (and inexpensive!). Easy peasy.  Throw in a clove of garlic and a little salt and pepper.  Blitz it in the blender until very smooth.  Pour into a small saucepan over low heat. I chopped one more pepper for texture and a little basil and oregano from my herb garden. I threw in a pinch of red pepper flakes, but if you don’t like a spicy sauce, don’t! I also added some goat cheese to cut the acidity of the tomatoes and add a creamy richness.

Roasted Tomato Pepper Sauce

Let that simmer away. I ended up adding a pinch of sugar and some more salt, to taste.

I butterflied my chicken breasts for quicker cooking (you could also pound it out or buy the thin slices of chicken). I just seasoned it with salt and pepper and drizzled with a bit of olive oil. I threw the chicken onto a piping hot cast-iron grill pan, my other favorite thing in the world. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side.

Grilled Chicken

Meanwhile, I cooked the pasta. Now, this had to have been the funniest part of my random dinner. I had 4 boxes of different kinds of pasta, each only 1/4 full. So, I threw them into the salted boiling water at various times based on the box directions. It all worked out in the end!

Pasta

My impromptu dinner was pretty much complete. Just a little chop of the chicken, some noodles, sauce, a little fresh mozzarella (leftover), and some more basil and voila!

Grilled Chicken Pasta with Roasted Tomato Pepper Sauce 2

Yum! Perfect for a quick dinner on a weeknight. This is more of a method than a recipe, though. You could add whatever veggies or protein you had around, or just make it as a sauce for roasted vegetables. It would be fantastic with roasted mushrooms, artichokes, and zucchini…

Grilled Chicken Pasta with Roasted Tomato Pepper Sauce

Grilled Chicken Pasta with Roasted Tomato Pepper Sauce

Ingredients

    Ingredients for sauce:
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes, diced (drained slightly)
  • 4-5 piquillo peppers from a can
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (optional)
  • 3 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
    For chicken:
  • 3 large chicken breasts, butterflied or pounded flat
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
    For pasta and topping:
  • 1 lb pasta, any shape (rotini, cavatappi, penne, etc...)
  • Additional goat cheese, fresh Mozzarella, or Parmesan for sprinkling on top
  • Additional fresh basil to garnish

Instructions

    Sauce:
  1. In a large blender, combine the tomatoes, all but one of the piquillo peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  4. Let simmer for a few minutes.
  5. Add the sugar, basil, oregano, and goat cheese.
  6. Stir until cheese melts into sauce.
  7. Finely chop remaining pepper and add to sauce.
  8. Reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally until ready to serve.
  9. Taste for salt and pepper. Add red pepper flake, if desired.
    Chicken:
  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Cook over medium-high heat in a screaming hot cast-iron grill pan for 4-5 minutes per side or until cooked through.
  3. Cut into strips.
    Pasta:
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add a generous amount of salt.
  3. Boil pasta according to package directions.
  4. Drain well.
    Combine:
  1. Serve hot chicken atop the pasta, cover in sauce.
  2. Top with the cheese of you choice and some additional basil and serve immediately.
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